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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Various Artists

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Kraftwerk's “Pocket Calculator” may have been the unlikeliest influence on early rap, but the Tom Tom Club's “Genius of Love” runs second. The opening cut on this survey of Profile Records, Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde's “Genius Rap,” borrowed the Tom Tom Club's tinker-toy funk for its backing track. Like “Genius,” the early tracks on this two-CD set boast a naïve exuberance that came in part because the boundaries of rap and hip-hop had yet to be defined. By the time of Run-D.M.C.'s 1986 remake of Aerosmith's “Walk This Way,” the music had emerged from the streets to become the latest sound of young America. As for Profile, the initially uncertain brainchild of a pair of Jewish kids from New York City, the label followed the path of groundbreaking indies throughout the 20th century—absorption by a mainstream industry conglomerate and loss of identity.